Putin leapfrogs embattled Obama to become world's 'most powerful' individual
US president Barack Obama has been ousted from the number one spot on the 'Forbes' list of most powerful people by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The controversial Russian president batted away competition from Mr Obama, Bill Gates and the Pope to claim the top spot on the 'Forbes' annual list of the world's most powerful and influential people.
Mr Putin's strengthening of control in Russia has resulted in what 'Forbes' described as a clear "shifting of individual power dynamics", while inaction over Syria and the recent government shutdown has seen Mr Obama lose his influence on the international stage.
'Forbes' judges use four criteria to determine the top leaders: How many they govern; how much money they oversee; how many spheres of influence they tout; and how actively they use their powers to influence and change the world.
Chinese premier Xi Jinping was at number three in the list, Pope Francis was number four and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the top-placed woman at number five.
Microsoft tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates took sixth place, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was at number seven, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah was at eight and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi was at nine.
'Forbes' said: "Putin has solidified his control over Russia while Obama's lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president – latest example: the government shutdown mess.
"Anyone watching this year's chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics," according to the magazine's 'World's Most Powerful People 2013'.
The list, as a whole, features 17 heads of state, 27 CEOs and chairs of individual companies and 12 'entrepreneurs'. Of the 72, 28 are billionaires, wielding a combined wealth in excess of $564bn (€411bn).
British Prime Minister David Cameron dropped from number 10 last year to 11th place.
Mr Cameron was criticised for a recent "flip-flop approach to green taxes", though credited him with "guiding the world's sixth largest economy".
In its profile of Mr Cameron, the magazine said: "The Conservative PM guides the world's sixth largest economy and was once hailed as the second coming of Margaret Thatcher. No more.
"He has recently been criticised for a flip-flop approach to green taxes after he pledged to slash the tax on household energy bills amid soaring gas and electricity prices.
"The Oxford graduate and (illegitimate) descendent of King William IV (1830-1837) has fired at 'The Guardian' newspaper and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for 'making it a lot more difficult to keep our countries and our citizens safe'.
"He has two years to galvanise the Tories ahead of a 2015 general election," Forbes said.
The magazine ranked the 72 people on the list – one for every 100 million people on earth – according to how many people they have power over; the financial resources they control; if they have influence in more than one sphere; and how actively they wield their power to change the world.
This year's list features 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of some $48trn – including the three most powerful people, Mr Putin, Mr Obama and Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China.
The 27 CEOs and chairs control over $3trn in annual revenues, and 12 are entrepreneurs, including new billionaires on the list, Nigeria's Aliko Dangote (No 64), founder of Dangote Group, and Oracle's Larry Ellison (No 58).
Among the 13 newcomers to the list are Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee (No 41), and South Korean President Park Geun-hye (No 52). (© Independent News Service)